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Trans Players Call Out 'Forza Horizon 5' Automated Name Recognition

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Trans Players Call Out 'Forza Horizon 5' Automated Name Recognition

A number of trans gamers have called out an issue with Forza Horizon 5’s automated name recognition. For those that aren’t aware, Playground Games’ new open-world racer will grab your name from your Microsoft account so that it can greet you as you load up the game for the first time. In theory it’s a neat little feature that should pull you even further into a gorgeous and immersive world. In practice, it’s leaving many trans players out in the cold. 

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TheGamer spoke with a handful of trans players who were more than a little shocked and upset to hear Forza Horizon 5 call them by their deadname - the name they left behind as part of their transition. This almost certainly wasn’t intentional on the part of Playground Games, of course, but it’s an oversight that has caused some issues; especially since you can’t actually change your name right away, and have to play through a few sections first. 

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"It sucked and it was jarring," Melody told TheGamer. "You have a few mandatory bits to play before you can actually change it. I am not too familiar with the menus, but a lot of the customisation is separated from the menu options, so I wasted a lot of time digging when it was elsewhere."

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As a new player, I was able to choose my name from a massive list of pre-recorded names, as well as my preferred pronouns, at the start of the game. Unfortunately, many returning players don’t get that option. They’re thrown straight in with an automatically picked name. If it’s that name happens to be one you no longer go by, it can be an upsetting experience. 

"I was pretty shocked," another anonymous player said. "I enjoyed the intro sequence and was having a lot of fun, but hearing the announcer call out my deadname completely blindsided me. I quit the game immediately and was close to just refunding it on Steam.

"I'm really disappointed that they messed up something so basic but crucial to many people's enjoyment of the game."

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Playground Games has offered a huge suite of accessibility and inclusivity options in Forza Horizon 5, so it’s a genuine shame to see things like this and certain Arabic names get automatically banned mar the experience. Hopefully it’s an issue that can be resolved soon, so we can all get back to racing.

Featured Image Credit: Xbox Game Studios

Topics: Forza

Ewan Moore
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